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Competitive REL » Post: Selvala and amount of mana

Selvala and amount of mana

April 3, 2019 11:15:40 AM [Original Post]

Mikaël Rabie
Judge (Level 3), Scorekeeper

France

Selvala and amount of mana

This is a follow up of this topic:
I have Garruk's Horde and Selvala, Explorer Returned, and a creature on the top of my library. Am I always allowed to start casting the creature spell, activate Selvala, then choose not to cast the spell (which would end up in me getting the second card of library in my hand and the creature back on top)?
For examples:
  1. I have a 3 mana creature on top and 0 lands in play (meaning that I know I will not be able to cast it for sure).
  2. I have a 1 mana creature on top, and I know that my opponent holds a Force Spike. I want to be sure that I will have 1 mana floating if I cast my creature. Can I refuse to cast the creature if Selvala produces a single mana?

April 3, 2019 07:28:57 PM [Marked as Accepted Answer]

Scott Marshall
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Regional Coordinator (USA - Northwest), Hall of Fame

USA - Northwest

Selvala and amount of mana

Be careful here; intentionally taking an action that you know to be illegal, while seeking some advantage, will lead to some (majority of?) judges choosing to disqualify you. Your first example is clearly in that dangerous area, and I can't say I'd disagree with a DQ in that case - assuming, that is, I can figure out what in the world you were hoping to gain from it. ;)

The second example, if I read you correctly, asks if you can start to take an action and then - after gaining information - change your mind. This came up years ago, in a scenario where a player started to cast Wrath of God, using a Chromatic Sphere during the announcement, seeing the drawn card, and then refusing to use a possible source of White mana to provide the WW needed to successfully cast the spell - thus, forcing a rewind.

If my memory serves (it happens sometimes!), a player was disqualified for doing that very thing. Not long after, the rules were changed - as evidenced by this 2008 ruling for Chromatic Sphere:
This is a mana ability, which means it can be activated as part of the process of casting a spell or activating another ability. If that happens you get the mana right away, but you don’t get to look at the drawn card until you have finished casting that spell or activating that ability.

In general, Mikaël, doing something you know you can't is a Bad Idea™. In your second example, generating sufficient mana during the steps of casting a spell, but refusing to finish because you didn't generate extra mana, is a very (dark) grey area, one I would not venture into, nor be very forgiving of.

d:^D

Note: I'll move this thread to the Comp REL forums, as I believe others will want to discuss it.

April 3, 2019 07:59:29 PM

Isaac King
Judge (Level 2)

Gainesville, Florida, United States of America

Selvala and amount of mana

I believe what Scott is getting at (correct me if I'm wrong) is that an “illegal action” as defined in the rules is treated as illegal from a tournament policy perspective as well, and comes with all the baggage that doing illegal things normally does.

I'd also like to add that the section in the rules for backing up illegal actions is not comprehensive- it just exists as a cursory guideline on how to handle those situations, since the rules have to say something about it. Delving into the corner cases of backing up weird chains of actions can lead to nonsensical results, and isn't particularly meaningful or relevant. In any sanctioned tournament, the judge is going to rule in the way that actually makes sense for the situation.

April 22, 2019 11:22:58 AM

Mikaël Rabie
Judge (Level 3), Scorekeeper

France

Selvala and amount of mana

(I have just discovered that the topic was moved to another forum)
My question was rule related, not policy related. As the answer linked did say that drawing the second card was possible while not playing the first, I wanted to know what were the limits.
In my first scenario, the goal is to draw the second card, if the rules allow it (not to try to cheat the rules).
In my second scenario, the goal is to see if we force a player to finish to cast a spell, even though they wanted to have a mana left in the process to pay a Force Spike (because Selvala produced 1 and not 2 manas).

The endpoint of those questions is some hope that Selvala gets an errata to be allowed to activate the ability only at instant speed, as there is no control on the amount of mana spent, and cards are drawn face up, making the action non reversible.

April 22, 2019 03:36:00 PM

Scott Marshall
Forum Moderator
Judge (Level 3), Regional Coordinator (USA - Northwest), Hall of Fame

USA - Northwest

Selvala and amount of mana

Mikael, I think my post adresses this, but I'll rephrase a bit:
1) no, you can't, and the IPG tells us what to do if you try;
2) no, you can't, but it's not as clearly stated. (Our new policy re: reversing decisions may apply.)

The CR defines how Arena and MTGO are (supposed to) work. With one exception, the CR doesn't address mistakes; the exception relates to your questions, namely, 721-Handling Illegal Actions. The CR does not even consider infractions - such as taking an action you know to be illegal; instead, that's the domain of tournament policy, contained in the MTR and IPG.

Note that I do agree that your suggestion re: errata would indeed make Selvala much cleaner.

d:^D

April 23, 2019 09:50:50 PM

Isaac King
Judge (Level 2)

Gainesville, Florida, United States of America

Selvala and amount of mana

Mikaël, you seem to be looking for an answer in the CR that doesn't rely on the IPG/MTR. However as I said above, there simply isn't one. The CR does not comprehensively cover handling illegal actions.